skyfyre: Sumeragi Hokuto from X/1999, Smiling (and then seduced his wife)
skyfyre ([personal profile] skyfyre) wrote2012-11-16 01:28 pm
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Star Trek - That Which Survives

Look, this one didn't take me two months to do!

I'm almost done the series. I just have to keep telling myself that.

(I should rewatch an earlier good episode. And do a write up on that. It'd be awesome.)


We open, as we often do, on the bridge of the Enterprise, with some shit going down. Apparently the planet that they’re currently looking at can’t possibly exist. Sure, they’re looking right at it, but Spock’s throwing around some science-y words that I’m not really sure that I understand. I’m not really sure anyone on the bridge really understood it. Spock thinks it’s fascinating, and I’m not sure anyone else really does.

So they set up an away party, consisting of Kirk, Bones, Sulu, and the never mentioned before D'Amato. Oh, D’Amato. Do you think you’re safe just because you wear a blue shirt? It doesn’t matter that you’re just a simple geologist. Your days have been numbered.

And I hate to tell you, but the number isn’t very big.

So they all head over to the transporter room, where they have a good laugh over “a planet that not even Spock can explain.” They bundle on up to the transporter pad, and just as they’re being transported, a mysterious woman teleports (as opposed to transports) in, is all “WAIT, NO, STOP,” and kills the transporter operator.

Needless to say, the away team is very confused when they get down on the planet.

It doesn’t help that just moments after arriving on the planet, there’s a massive earthquake. That also effects the Enterprise. So maybe it was a spacequake? That also effected the planet.

Either way, it was enormous.

The crew aboard the bridge pick themselves up after the quake. Uhura asks Spock what happened.

Spock: I have hit my occipital lobe on the arm of the chair.

I think she meant with the quake, dude. But it’s cool. She’s glad that you didn’t fall and break your science.

I still ship Spock/Uhura. When I watch their interactions on TOS, I totally see where the reboot movie was coming from when they put them together.

Spock/Uhura. Their love is so logical.

The away team down on the planet, through empirical data gathering, have figured out that all that shaking was, in fact, a massive fucking earthquake. Another one of that magnitude could tear the planet apart. I’m not actually sure how they came to that conclusion, unless their tricorders are also seismographs, which they might actually be. Though I’m not sure how they could have survived an earthquake as intense as they’re describing. Especially since they were surrounded by rocks at the time.

They decide that they don’t want to stick around for the potential second calamitous earthquake and try to beam up to the Enterprise.

This doesn’t work out as well as they’d hoped, as the Enterprise is no longer there. Whoops.

After the opening credits, the away team tries to figure out what just happened.

Sulu: Could the Enterprise have exploded?
Kirk: Omg, no Sulu, it didn’t explode.
Sulu: What about a meteor? This one time, in Russia-
Kirk: SHUT IT, SULU. YOU’RE NOT ENSIGN CHEKOV AND I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU WANT TO BE.

On the Enterprise, they’ve discovered the one casualty of the quake. Who turns out not to have been killed by the quake at all. M’Benga (my favorite side character with absolutely no story. He’s a doctor, and I doubt he drinks on the job~) says something about cellular disruption. Spock is less than pleased at how not sure M’Benga is.

They also do a calculation on just how far away from the planet they are now. On the helm while Sulu is away is a female officer who says that they’re 100 light years away (or something like that). This means that there are two women on the bridge with speaking roles. Which is pretty good, considering that “The Empath” is still an episode that happened. Spock doesn’t care about feminism, though, Spock cares that they’re not 100 light years away, they’re 97.8 light years away (or something like that, I don’t keep numbers in my head well, and to hell like I’m actually loading the episode up again to check. It’s not worth it.)

The look on her face when Spock corrects her, though. She looked pretty pissed. She’s my new favorite.

On the planet, the away team is taking a good hard look at their situation. With the Enterprise gone, they suddenly have to worry about things like food, water, and shelter. Sadly for them (hilarious for me), it doesn’t look like any of the vegetation on the planet is actually edible, and they can’t find any sources of water.

You know what you have to do you guys.

You have to resort to cannibalism.

Now, I know it’s only been a couple of hours, but you should start preparing yourselves for it now. It’s going to be hard, eating the dead flesh of one of your friends. But you can do it. For survival. You should also totally pick who to eat first. I think you should pick D’Amato. No one will miss him.

I find cannibalism far funnier than I really should.

Or, you guys can split up to explore the planet and see if there’s another option. You can do that too. I guess.

So they split up to take reading of the planet with their tricorders. Well, Bones, Sulu, and D’Amato take readings. Kirk just sort of wanders aimlessly and frowns a lot. Maybe he’s having another existential crisis over whether he’s still Captain if he doesn’t have a ship to be Captain of. Or maybe he’s sad about the fact that he’ll never have buffalo wings ever again. It could go either way.

D’Amato’s scanning finds something about magnetic readings. He makes some metaphor about it being like a door opening and then closing again. This is only important because Kirk spends the entire rest of the episode repeating it as if it means something, and I’m not completely convinced that it does.

As D’Amato keeps scanning, the woman from the transporter room appears. She knows D’Amato’s name, rank, and the ship he’s serving on. She also says “I am for you,” which he probably thought was pretty cool. Usually Kirk is the one who gets it on with the alien women. Alas for D’Amato, though, the death she gives him is real and not at all metaphorical.

While the woman was present, Bones read an extra life form reading. When Kirk calls for each member of the away team, D’Amato doesn’t answer. Which is usually a bad sign. Kirk finds D’Amato’s body and calls for Bones.

Kirk: BONES THERE'S A DEAD BODY AND I DON'T WANT TO TOUCH IT.

Apparently Bones is so good that his tricorder can do the same autopsy that M’Benga did with the whole sick bay, and he can be more sure of his results. Indeed, cellular disruption is what got D’Amato, and it was probably brief, but painful.

Sulu: What a terrible way to die.
Kirk: There are no good ways to die.
Me: What about the metaphorical way? I watch Glee. Metaphors are important.

So they try to make a grave for D’Amato, but their phasers won’t cut through whatever rock is underneath the actually pretty thin topsoil.

So you guys have some weird fucking rocks and your geologist is dead.

Your lives are awesome.

Except for D’Amato’s, of course. He doesn’t have a life anymore. Because of the whole being dead thing.

Back on the Enterprise, things aren’t doing much better. They’re trying to warp their way back to the planet as quickly as possible. Scotty is in the engine room, frowning at his instruments.

Scotty: Spock. Spock the ship feels wrong.
Spock: “Feels wrong?”
Scotty: Yeah. All the instruments say we’re fine. But I don’t think we are. I can’t explain it.
Spock: Well, how about you get me some actual data from some actual scientific equipment, and not bother me with your stupid human emotions?
Me: Spock, you’re being a total asshole this episode. I mean, more than usual.

While Spock is questioning the relationship between a man and his warp core, the away team have constructed a sort of stone tomb for D’Amato. They made a tombstone, too, by apparently writing on a rock with a sharpie. I’m not actually sure how they managed that.

I’m not sure that this episode was beta read at all.

While they’re discussing possible things that could have happened, Bones brings up silicone creatures like they met that one time. The idea is quickly dismissed, but what Bones was referring to was the Horta in the episode “The Devil in the Dark.” Which means that for once in its run, Star Trek actually had continuity. It remembered something that happened in another episode! And episode in a different season! And it wasn’t, like, remembering the Spock is a touch telepath (and why don’t they do more with that? Is that something that he can do at will? Or does it happen every time he touches someone and it can’t control it?), this is remembering a one episode creature, and not even feeling the need to explain it.

That made me more excited that I should be.

(It helps that I like “The Devil in the Dark,” because maybe Bones is a doctor and not a bricklayer, but he can certainly cure a rainy day.)

(When I got enthused about continuity on Twitter, a stranger tweeted me to let me know that the creature was the Horta in “The Devil in the Dark.” I didn’t respond to him because one, I was sleeping at the time and two, I already knew that.)

We go to the Enterprise again, the planet not being able to handle the sheer awesome that is continuity right now. We’re back in engineering, and Scotty doesn’t care what Spock says, something isn’t right. So he sends one of his engineers to check out... something. The warp core manifold? You’d think I’d take notes on the actual names of things, but I really don’t, and I still don’t want to go back to the episode to check.

While Ensign I’m-gonna-call-him-Smith checks out the equipment, the mysterious woman appears again, calling him by name.

Smith: You know all about me
Me: She knows your name and rank. That's not a lot, dude.
Woman: Tell me about this thing
Smith: Okay! That can't go wrong!
Woman: I'm gonna be vaguely threatening.
Smith: Okay, but I'm gonna actually warn people.

And then she kills him with her touch. He did manage to get a warning out, but she got the information she needed.

Scotty comes in and reports to the bridge that Smith is dead, and no, he doesn’t know what killed him. Dammit, Spock, he’s an engineer, not a doctor.

Spock starts the security alert, and lets the ship know that there’s a female intruder on board. The camera cuts to Uhura and that helms woman from earlier. If this were any other show, that might be significant. Because this is Star Trek, it only means that they’re the only other one’s who’ve spoken on the bridge this episode.

Planetside, what remains of the away team decides to rest for the night. Sulu takes the first watch, and I’m a twelve-year-old giggling about how Kirk and Bones are sleeping together. Sure, it’s actually only next to each other, but it’s good enough for me.

On the Enterprise, M’Benga still isn’t sure what caused the cellular disruption that keeps taking out crew members.

M’Benga: Your guess is as good as mine.
Spock: GUESSING ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH.
Me: CALM DOWN.

Sulu paces around a bit while on watch, apparently being unaware that he’s allowed to sit down. It’s okay, though, because the strange woman comes along again before he wears himself out.

Unlike the other guys, Sulu actually questions the woman’s information and doesn’t just let her do her thing. This would almost be like treating her as an equal and a viable threat if he weren’t all like “I don’t want to have to kill a woman!”

It’s made better by Sulu tripping and falling, though. I’m a simple girl of simple pleasures, and I find highly trained space officers falling over branches hilarious.

(Of course, this assumes that members of the starship Enterprise are highly trained anything. I still remember how you guys handled chemical hazards. Shit like that is how “The Naked Time” happens.)

So the woman sort of grazes Sulu’s arm and he screams in pain. Thankfully, Bones and Kirk come running at Sulu’s call and save him. Apparently her touch does nothing to Kirk and Bones, so they act as human shield while they question her.

Kirk: Where are the men on your planet?
Me: WHY DOES IT MATTER?

So she teleports away again. Bones examines Sulu’s shoulder, and apparently it’s the cellular disruption again, but just localized to his shoulder. Bones says that it’s like all of the cells exploded from within, which sounds way more violent than it actually looks. I think Sulu’s only alive because he’s a regular character. That would have killed a red shirt.

You know what’s just as important as Sulu’s injury though? The fact that that woman was beautiful. Yes.

On the ship, Spock continues his streak of being a complete asshat to just about everybody.

Uhura: What are the chances of the Captain and the rest still being alive?
Spock: I AM NOT GOING TO GAMBLE LIKE THAT.
Me: IT’S NOT A GAMBLE, IT’S A PROBABILITY. DON’T BE A JERK.

On top of Spock being a jerk, the Enterprise is speeding up more than it should, and refusing to slow down.

So Sulu might be right. The Enterprise might just blow up.

Spock goes down to engineering to talk to Scotty. Apparently Spock cancelled the security alert. Because what’s the point of it if you can’t actually do anything about the security risk?

That is totally sound logic, don’t question it. Spock’s in a pissy mood and might just nerve pinch you if you question him.

So, to fix whatever is wrong with the ship, someone has to go into a tiny little crawl space and, like, reverse the polarity of the neutron flow or something. I’d feel worse about not knowing for sure if I thought Star Trek even cared about the correct science.

The unfortunate thing about whatever the solution to the problem is, is that it will probably kill whoever does it.

Spock: I will die for this ship.
Scotty: NOT IF I DO IT FIRST.

On the planet there’s a bit of discussion about Sulu’s injury and what the woman is capable of. She can pretty much kill you with a touch, but only if she’s speaking your name. If she’s not, you’re totally fine to touch her and be a meat shield. And despite the fact that cellular disruption sounds super painful and scary, Sulu seems perfectly fine. He has full mobility and doesn’t seem to be under any duress at all.

I’m choosing to believe that this is because of Bones’ totally awesome medical skills, and not because Star Trek sucks at this kind of thing. (Even though it does.)

She eventually shows back up to kill Kirk this time. Then there’s some really intense shifting of body weight to keep her from touching him. It’s at this point we learn that she was sent to protect the secret base that this planet apparently is. Also, her name is Losira and she’s by herself and in command. She doesn’t want to kill people, but she has to defend this place.

Kirk: Are you lonely?
Me: NOW IS NOT THE TIME, KIRK.

For whatever reason, instead of just teleporting behind Kirk and touching him that way before anyone can stop her, Losira just teleports away. The away team find the opening into the actual base part of this apparent secret base. They figure that if it’s between going into the strange cave and cannibalizing D’Amato, they should probably pick the strange cave thing.

On ship, Scotty desperately tries to fix the magnetic flow that will keep the Enterprise from exploding. He’s got about … a minute to do this. It’s that, or they jettison the fuel pod, with him in it, to save the ship. Because his life sucks, one of his tools gets stuck, so he thinks he’s failed.

Scotty: I think it’s time for plan B where I die now.
Spock: No. >:(

Scotty, through the miracle of being a main character and having the writers on his side, manages to save the Enterprise at the very last moment.

Go team Scotty.

Finally we return to the planet. Losira has solved the whole not being able to kill people whose name she doesn’t say by virtue of creating three of her. Totally reasonable.

There’s also this whole thing where apparently Losira was the commander of this base, which was waiting for more of her people to arrive. Except that people that were already on the base all died from disease. So a message was left to warn the people that were supposed to be coming. Which they either never arrived or all died themselves? I don’t know, I lost track.

It’s cool, Spock and Scotty beam down before I can get too terribly confused. They shoot the computer and Losira is destroyed. And I guess they just sort of leave the planet/base thing alone after that?

The important thing is that this conversation happened about Losira:

Spock: Remarkable
Kirk: And beautiful!
Spock: Beauty is transitive, she was highly intelligence.
Kirk: I don't agree with you, Mr. Spock. Beauty survives.

It’s good to end an episode on a stabby note.

Also, I went to Wikipedia to double check Losira’s name, and found this: “Robert Justman quit as co-producer of the third season of Star Trek after 'That Which Survives', because he could no longer tolerate the decline in script and production quality of the series.”

Which I think says a lot about the third season.

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